Graphic Designer Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Graphic Designer, or Visual Communication Designer uses symbols, images and text to create visual representations of ideas. Their duties include meeting with clients to gather requirements, decide on project objectives and create images that resonate with consumers.


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Graphic Designer duties and responsibilities

Graphic Designers work for a variety of companies and create visual designs for different kinds of products, including adverts, product packaging, book covers, websites, computer games or magazines. As such, the type of duties they have vary depending on their position. In addition, those who work for smaller companies may have a wider scope of duties, which could include tasks for other creatives, such as Illustrators. They generally have the following duties:

  • Coming up with creative concepts that are in line with a client’s demands
  • Developing rough drafts of concepts and presenting these to clients
  • Collaborating with other creatives in a design team to ensure a common vision and consistent branding
  • Keeping a client up-to-date with regard to project progress and applying client recommendations
  • Ensuring that a design project remains within scope, time and budget
  • Keeping up-to-date with design and multimedia trends and the latest developments in software tools
  • Liaising with external parties, such as printers to ensure that a project runs smoothly and a client’s expectations are met
  • Presenting final design concepts, including specifications for fonts, images, colours, text and layout, to clients for their approval


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What does a Graphic Designer do?

Graphic Designers create digital and physical visual concepts that effectively communicate the messages their clients wish to convey. As such, the job entails more than just creating pretty visual designs. These professionals design visual solutions that are in line with a company’s brand strategy. This includes always keeping the relevant audience in mind and producing visual concepts that they’ll find informative and inspiring. Graphic Designers either form part of a company’s in-house design team and create visual concepts for that brand, or work for agencies and provide creative services for a variety of clients.


Graphic Designer skills and qualifications

Graphic Designers need a wide range of technical, business and artistic skills. They also need excellent interpersonal and communication skills to effectively interact with people. They need to actively listen to the requirements and ideas of customers and team members and be able to clearly verbalise ideas and information. A successful Graphic Designer will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications that typically include: 

  • Creative thinking to devise original and exciting visual concepts
  • Good organisational skills and the ability to prioritise tasks, as they often work on multiple projects concurrently
  • Solid knowledge of media production and communication
  • The ability to adapt, including shaping their ideas to meet a client’s vision
  • Solid knowledge of design software, such as Illustrator and InDesign, and photo-editing packages, such as Photoshop
  • Excellent teamworking skills to effectively collaborate with other creatives 
  • An understanding of the application of design across various digital and social platforms


Graphic Designer experience requirements

The level of experience a Graphic Designer needs depends on the position. Employers often ask to view a Graphic Designer’s portfolio to gain an understanding of the type of work they do. They may also expect that candidates have a solid track record of delivering successful design projects from conception to completion. Candidates may also need to show knowledge of relevant design and photo-editing software, as well as basic CSS and HTML. Project management experience is beneficial.


Graphic Designer education and training requirements

Although it’s not a requirement, Graphic Designers often have a foundation degree, a higher national diploma or a degree in graphic design, illustration, visual communication, product design or a related field. Some also gain valuable skills and knowledge in the field by completing an apprenticeship in design. Candidates can develop their professional skills by completing courses that are recognised by professional bodies like the Chartered Society of Designers. Examples of relevant qualifications include a Professional Diploma in Creative Arts and Design: Game Art Design from the International School Of Creative Arts (ISCA).


Graphic Designer salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Graphic Designer is £24,976 per year. Salaries vary, depending on factors like location and level of experience.


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Graphic Designer job description FAQs


What are the hours of a Graphic Designer?

Graphic Designers typically have regular Monday to Friday, 40-hours work schedules. However, the job may require working longer hours for eaxmple when deadlines are looming.


Which companies can benefit from hiring a Graphic Designer?

Graphic Designers work for various types of companies. Examples include advertising agencies, signage companies, publishers, multimedia companies, brand agencies, large print houses and television and broadcasting companies.


What's the difference between an Art Director and a Graphic Designer?

Art Directors manage creatives who design and develop artwork and design layouts for projects. As opposed to Graphic Designers, Art Directors don’t physically create or design anything themselves. Rather, they review and direct design work.

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